Want to know what the pilgrims ate back then? Take a tour back in time and try these pilgrim Thanksgiving recipes for some flavors of the past.
In this article:
- Pilgrim Food: What Did the Pilgrims Eat on Thanksgiving
Ye Olde Pilgrims Thanksgiving Recipes to Enjoy Today
Pilgrim Food: What Did the Pilgrims Eat on Thanksgiving
I’ve always wondered, what did the pilgrims eat every day? As far as I know, things were prepared simpler back then… Leaving aesthetics much to be desired.
But hey, they only had so many ingredients, and definitely no supermarkets, so let’s give them some credit for creativity! I did a little research on “what do pilgrims eat?”
You can only imagine how was Thanksgiving dinner back then. If you’re as curious as I am on what these early settlers ate with little to no access to all the cooking tools and condiments we have today… then you’ve come to the right place.
The Thanksgiving feast we know today is nothing like what the pilgrims had 391 years ago. Their pickings were much slimmer, but they were able to make a beautiful feast leaving them satisfied, full, and grateful.
Read on and experience how pilgrims feasted on the first Thanksgiving with these easy pilgrim recipes.
1. Roasted Butternut Squash
Okay, so this may be a modern way to prepare this but I’m sure everyone will enjoy this roasted butternut squash. The leeks, bacon, and a smoky-sweet apple glaze bring the wonderful fall flavors together.
2. Stewed Pumpkin
Just gather all the ingredients and make this stewed pumpkin in just one pot. It’s a standing dish perfect for fall and winter.
Have a taste of history by making these simple biscuits the civil war soldiers ate. Hardtack is so easy even your kids can make them, plus ist’s a survival food item you should know of just in case…
4. Turkey Sobaheg
In simpler terms, turkey stew.
- 1/2 pound dry beans (white, red, brown, or spotted kidney-shaped beans)
- 1/2 pound white hominy corn or yellow samp or coarse grits, available from Gonsalves or Goya at many grocery stores
- 1 pound turkey meat (legs or breast, with bone and skin)
- 3 quarts cold water
- 1/4 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1/2 pound winter squash, trimmed and cubed
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seed meat, pounded to a coarse flour (or pounded walnuts)
- dried onion and/or garlic to taste
- clam juice or salt to taste (optional)
Combine dried beans, corn, turkey, seasonings, and water in a large pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, turn down to a very low simmer, and cook for about 2 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally to be certain the bottom is not sticking.
When dried beans are tender but not mushy, break up turkey meat, removing skin and bones. Add green beans and squash, and simmer on low heat until they are tender.
— Homesteading (@HomesteadingUSA) November 7, 2016
5. Boiled Bread Recipe
Yes, boiled bread. Before people had ovens, they had to boil their bread.
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup cornflour
- 1 quart slightly boiled water
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, blueberries, and/or currants
- 1/2 cup crushed nuts or seeds (walnuts, hazelnuts, or sunflower seeds)
- Maple syrup or sugar to taste (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. After mixing, slowly add a spoonful at a time of slightly boiled water.
When the mix is thick enough to be sticky, shape round patties (about 3 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick).
Return water to a slight rolling boil and drop in one or two patties, carefully making sure they do not stick to the bottom. Remove bread when they begin to float.
6. Curd Fritters Recipe
They did it a little differently in the past but here’s a modern take on this pilgrim recipe you can follow today.
- 5 eggs
- curds (ricotta, cottage, or other soft cheese)
- wheat or cornflour
- cooking oil or butter
Make a thin batter with the eggs and equal amounts of curds and flour, then season with salt. Heat a small amount of cooking oil in your frying pan.
When the oil is hot, pour in the batter and tip the pan to make the batter spread very thinly–they should be like crepes.
When brown on one side, use your knife to flip them over or slide them onto a plate and flip them over into the pan.
Add more oil to the pan when needed. Serve with sugar sprinkled on the top if you wish.
7. Nasaump Recipe
This is something similar to oatmeal or porridge prepared by the Wampanoags.
- 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1 cup strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, or a combination of all three
- 1/2 crushed walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds or a combination of all three
- 1-quart water
- maple syrup or sugar to taste (optional)
Combine everything in a pot of water and bring to a boil. Cook in medium heat with continuous stirring for about 15 minutes.
8. Indian Meal Pudding
Need some classic pilgrim comfort food? Then try making this yummy Indian meal pudding recipe.
So named after the cornmeal the natives gave them upon arrival.
9. Easy Thanksgiving Pilgrim’s Hat Cookie Treats
Okay, so maybe the pilgrims didn’t eat these yummy Thanksgiving pilgrim’s hat cookie treats but it’s actually pretty easy, so it’s sure to be a definite winner.
Want to see what food the pilgrims probably ate for Thanksgiving? Check out this video from Top Tenz:
Our Thanksgiving menu today is already totally different, yet the festivities and the spirit still remain the same. No matter what is in store for your Thanksgiving menu this year, be sure to prepare it with a more grateful heart.
What do you think of these pilgrim Thanksgiving recipes? Will you give it a try? Let me know in the comment section below.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 8, 2016, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.